Sex scenes are not easy. (There’s a joke there somewhere—or maybe just a punchline). There’s a choreography to crafting these exchanges; they have to make anatomical sense. Emotional sense. There’s discernment involved, as in: ‘Is sex between my characters necessary?’ and if so, why is it necessary? Is it an emotional pay-off for the reader? Does it lend anything to the story arc or character development?
In Within The Summit’s Shadow, the answer to all of the above is “Yes.”
Andrew & Elizabeth have loved each other forever. From childhood sweethearts to complicated adults, their lives have remained entwined even through a cold war that’s kept them apart for more than a decade.
And my word, do they have baggage.
Elizabeth, when seen by Andrew for the first time in fourteen years, looks like this:
‘…Time had not just been kind. It had been magic. His eyes clung to the places her dress, some kind of starlight colour, and he cocked a brow as her perfect heart-shaped ass glided away…’
But through her own eyes, she looks like this:
‘…Elizabeth’s arms came up to cover a chest that would never be considered proportionate no matter how slim she got. All boobs and bum, Randi King had said. Yes. An overfed moose beside this sweet, tiny creature….’
Oh, dear. Then there’s this:
‘…He tilted his head. “Did you know you’ve always kind of looked like an angel?”
Now flattery? Oh, please. That fat frog she’d once been was not angelic and right now with her hair wild from rain, clothes filthy from running in and out of that infected old lodge—“I promise, Drew, I’m no angel.” She meant it to come out rueful. Instead…damned if she didn’t sound breathless.
“Huh.” He chorded, melodic. “I don’t think any woman’s ever promised me to not be an angel.”…’
An obvious invitation that she did not pick up on because, fraught with all her old insecurities—which Andrew himself once cruelly helped foster—Elizabeth does not see herself as the ‘Enchantress’ who haunts his every fantasy.
As for Andrew…. Oh, Andrew. <Heavy sigh>. Andrew’s life has been trauma stacked atop trauma. His ordeals have become the brick and mortar around his heart—and his libido. So does he want Elizabeth? God, yes. Yet he also doesn’t want Elizabeth, because:
‘…“What do you think this will be, Elizabeth? You think I’ll make love to you like your Dead Boy?”
“I’ll fuck you, Bethie. Push you down on your knees and make you open your mouth. Bend your luscious ass over the bed and pound you till you collapse on the floor. I’ll pull your hair, Enchantress. Bruise your skin. You do not want that.”
Oh, yes she did.
“I don’t want that,” he said. “Not…not with you.”
Still, in a moment of tenderness, he aches for this:
‘…She buried her face in his neck, her bravado crumbling. “Drew, I…I’m scared.”
He clasped her tightly against him. “I won’t let him near you.”
“It’s not me he wants!”
“I won’t let him hurt me, either.”
She made a soft sound he recognized. Disbelief. “Elizabeth, look at me.”
With obvious reluctance she lifted her face from behind his ear.
With agonizing reluctance he let her. “I have too much to live for.” He waited, breath hovering, to see if she got it. Really got it.
She swallowed, neck delicately working. “I want to believe you.”
“Even though you could be shining me on? Building your cop rapport?”
Good god, she hated cops. “I’m flattered you think my skills are that good. Makes me think maybe you are a little proud of me.”
A stricken look claimed her face. “I never said I wasn’t proud of you!”
“Are you?” Her mouth was so close. One tongue flick and he’d taste it, sweet honeysuckle.
“Very much.” The whisper touched his lips.
He dove into her lagoon eyes. Kiss me, Bethie. Teach me tender. Show me gentle….’
Sexual tension scorches your fingers as you turn the pages of their story, and you yearn for Elizabeth to see herself the way Andrew does. You need Andrew to push past his self-loathing and harsh self-indictments, to be the tender guy you, the reader, already know he is. You want, so badly, for them to do this:
‘…“My Drew,” she breathed, rocking, gaze deep in his eyes. “My police officer, my stonemason. My best friend.” She leaned down, whispered into the depth of his mouth. “I love you.”
Love you. Oh, yes, oh, God. For forever. Love you. He inhaled it, gulped it down, and then rammed, needing it brutal, wanting it wild…’
So…is the sex in Within The Summit’s Shadow necessary? Absolutely. More than this post will even reveal to you, actually. <wink>
Have you read it? Share your thoughts on my Facebook or Twitter feed.
Haven’t read it? You should. I promise that you’ll fall in love with Andrew and Elizabeth’s love story.
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